I thought I would reproduce the government’s statement on its Borders bill, as some of you are complaining that the government is not doing enough to stop illegal migration and some are concerned about government intentions.
The Bill will be firm but fair: fair to those in genuine need, but firm to those who break
The principles behind the Bill are simple. Access to the UK’s asylum system
should be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers; Illegal
immigration should be prevented. Those with no right to be in the UK should
be removed. Those in genuine need will be protected.
The case for change is overwhelming.
The system is broken. We stand by our moral and legal obligations to help
innocent people fleeing cruelty from around the world. But the system must be a fair
one. In 2019, UK asylum applications increased by 21% on the previous year to
almost 36,000 – the highest number since the 2015/16 European ’migration
crisis’. The current appeals system is too slow. As of May 2020, 32% of asylum
appeals lodged in 2019 and 9% of appeals lodged in 2018 did not have a known
outcome. Shockingly, the asylum system now costs over £1 billion a year to run.
The Bill – and the wider New Plan for Immigration – has three key objectives:
1. Make the system fairer and more effective so that we can better protect
and support those in genuine need of asylum. Over the last six years the UK
directly resettled 25,000 people from places of danger – more than any other
country in Europe.
2. Deter illegal entry into the UK breaking the business model of criminal
trafficking networks and saving lives. Small boat arrivals reached record levels this year, with over 3,700 people arriving in the UK this way in the first
five months of 2021. This is more than double the comparable figure for
3. Removing from the UK those with no right to be here. In 2019, enforced
returns from the UK decreased to just over 7,000 (7,192), 22% lower than the
previous year, and continuing a downward trend since 2013.
To make the system fairer and more effective, we will:
• Continue to resettle genuine refugees directly from places of danger, which
has protected 25,000 people in the last six years
• Continue to offer refugee family reunion, which has seen a further 29,000
people come to the UK over the last six years
• Meet our statutory commitment to lay in report in Parliament on the
outcome of the safe and legal routes review including family reunion for
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (not in legislation but being taken
forward alongside the Bill)
• Improve support for refugees to help them build their life in the UK, integrate
and become self-sufficient members of our society.
• Introduce a new temporary protection status for those who do not come
directly to the UK or claim asylum without delay once here but who have, in
any event, been recognised as requiring protection. This status will afford only
basic entitlements whilst still meeting our international law obligations.
• Introduce reception centres for asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers who
require support (to replace hotels) so that they have simple, safe and secure
accommodation to stay in while their claims and returns are being processed.
• Introduce a new and expanded ‘one-stop’ process to ensure that asylum,
human rights claims, and any other protection matters are made and considered
together, ahead of any appeal hearing. This will prevent repeated last-minute
meritless claims that are simply designed to frustrate proper removal. Introduce a
new legal advice offer to support individuals so that all relevant issues can be
raised at one time.
• Strengthen the law to withhold modern slavery protections from serious
criminals and those who pose a threat to national security, set out the
circumstances in which temporary leave to remain should be granted to
confirmed victims of modern slavery and clarify the decision making thresholds
for potential and confirmed victims, in line with our international obligations.
• Reform nationality law to make it fairer and to address historic anomalies.
To deter illegal entry into the UK, we will:
• Introduce new and tougher criminal offences for those attempting to enter the
UK illegally by raising the penalty for illegal entry from six months’ to four years
imprisonment and introducing life sentences for people smugglers.
• Provide Border Force with additional powers to:
o Search unaccompanied containers located within ports for the presence of
illegal migrants using them to enter the UK;
o Seize and dispose of any vessels intercepted and encountered including
disposal through donation to charity if appropriate;o Stop and divert vessels suspected of carrying illegal migrants to the UK
and, subject to agreement with the relevant country such as France, return
them to where their sea journey to the UK began.
• Increase the penalty for Foreign National Offenders who return to the UK in
breach of a deportation order from six months’ to five years’ imprisonment.
• Implement an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, similar to the
USA ESTA programme, to block the entry of those who present a threat to the
To remove from the UK those with no right to be here, we will:
• Confirm that the UK may remove people including criminals to a safe third
country and declare as inadmissible those who come here from a country where
they could have claimed asylum, so that they can also be removed to another
• Introduce expedited processes to allow rapid removal of those with no right to be
• Introduce a power to impose visa penalties on countries that do not cooperate
on the removal of its nationals who do not have a right to be in the UK.
• Ensure that compliance with the asylum or removal process without good
reason must be considered in deciding whether to grant immigration bail.
• Increase the length of the window in which Foreign National Offenders can be
removed from prison under the Early Removal Scheme for the purposes of
removal from the UK.
• Place in statute a single, standardised minimum notice period for migrants
to access justice prior to enforced removal, and confirm in statute that a new
notice period does not need to be re-issued following a previous failed removal,
for example where the person has physically disrupted their removal.
We need to act now.